JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiters have turned more to technology – including social media – to reach potential recruits. A group of 15 Total Force recruiters from the 351st Recruiting Squadron recently sharpened their social media skills by participating in the Defense Information School’s virtual Social Media Forum.
“I wanted to get smarter in this virtual world of recruiting,” said Master Sgt. Denise Alston, an in-service recruiter at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. “My hopes are to be able to reach as many active-duty members as I can as we work in a less face-to-face environment. When Covid-19 first sent us home and I was missing my monthly Palace Chase and Palace Front meetings to reach my audience, I knew I had to get smarter on social media. Zoom was booming, so I figured this could go hand-in-hand to reach members.”
During normal times, the daily grind and constant travelling from visiting recruits and going to the Military Entrance and Processing Station take up large parts of a recruiter’s day. Since COVID-19 has forced most recruiters to work from home, the need for a social media presence was amplified.
“Today we live in a social media-driven society so when the opportunity came available to learn about this space through the Defense Information School, I wanted to take advantage of it to equip myself with tools to effectively incorporate the knowledge into my current role as a recruiter,” said Master Sgt. David Brian Gaffney, a recruiter with the 351st RCS, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. “Building a social media platform is similar to recruiting because you have to build trust, create value, foster conversation with feedback and cultivate consistency.”
The two recruiters each gained different insights from the class as well as their teammates who attended the course.
“The course was very educational and insightful, shedding more light on the social media spectrum than I had expected,” Gaffney said. “The course gave me a better understanding on how social media platforms should be utilized from a macro and micro scale and some of the capabilities and strategies that are pushed through certain platforms to promote and manage content. When deciding to use social media in the workplace, ask for help, ensure you are adhering to the guidelines and policies set forth by your organization, have someone review and when in doubt reach out to public affairs before posting.”
Alston has already began utilizing some of the knowledge she gained from the course.
“There are a lot of creative ways to make your business come alive in a virtual world, but you have to be willing to put some time in to make it happen,” Alston said. “You reap what you sow! I already went in and put in-service recruiting at Shaw AFB on the map so people can google and find us. People always have their phones and tablets in their hand so guess what … we can reach more people than ever.”
Gaffney left the course with a newfound respect for social media and an excitement to put his new learning to task.
“The seminar has given me a greater appreciation for social media content creators and maintainers,” Gaffney said. “Before attending the seminar, I had little knowledge on social media platforms and since the seminar, I am excited about the possibilities and future utilization of this new-age technology in my workspace.”